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Thread: Wilkes Barre spokeswoman erroneously claim PA police have access to "weapon ownership info&

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    Wow - talk about an Orwellian response by the City of Wilkes Barre!

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court says that the State Police handgun transfer database is a "non-ownership registry," Allegheny County Sportsmen's League v. Rendell, 580 Pa. 149, 860 A.2d 10, 22, n.7(Pa. 2004).

    So to Wilkes Barre, that means the database contains "weapon ownership information."

    --

    http://www.citizensvoice.com/site/ne...1464&rfi=6

    ‘Open carry’ issue occurs in city


    06/11/2008



    A simmering issue over the right to openly bear arms in public made its way to Wilkes-Barre this weekend.














    Police stopped a New Jersey man with a gun in a holster on his hip around 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Sherman and South streets.

    Upon questioning the man, police seized his gun and took it to headquarters. He was then free to go and wasn’t charged.

    Officers took the gun because initial reports were the man had the gun in his hand and “proper ownership of the weapon could not be established,” the city said in a press release Tuesday. The gun will remain in police custody until ownership is established, the release said.

    A dozen members of a gun rights group brought this “open carry” issue to the forefront last month by openly carrying their guns into dinner at a Dickson City restaurant. The group is criticizing Wilkes-Barre police’s actions.

    “They had no lawful right to seize his property. There is no more reason to establish ownership of a handgun than it is for your cell phone,” said Mike Stollenwerk, co-founder of OpenCarry.org. “We now have two instances in the same region of Pennsylvania in which police think they could confiscate guns under this color of proving ownership.”

    Pennsylvania does not have a gun registry. A Philadelphia lawmaker last year introduced a bill to create one, but it failed badly.

    In the aftermath of the Dickson City case, Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola said, in general, people have a right to openly carry a weapon without having to show identification or a permit.

    “Police can ask, but if they don’t want to give it, they don’t have to,” he said. “It’s going to be surprising to the public, but that’s the current state of law.”

    Police officials and attorneys at the time noted police could not confiscate someone’s gun to check ownership without reasonable suspicion.

    Wilkes-Barre police say they were called to investigate the incident on Saturday when neighbors made a complaint of a man standing at East Northampton and Sherman streets with a gun in his hand.

    That was not reasonable suspicion of any crime, said Stollenwerk.

    Stollenwerk is not sure how exactly the man will “establish ownership.” Some gun owners do not have any paper documentation, he said.

    “I have nothing, except that it’s on my hip or in my gun safe,” he said.

    City spokeswoman Bridget Giunta said the person was stopped because “officers responded to a complaint of a man with a gun in his hand.” She said weapon ownership information is maintained by the state police and stolen status can also be ascertained by running the serial number through a database.

    The “open carry” movement is apparently gaining popularity nationwide. The Los Angeles Times last week published a comprehensive story about the growing movement, noting it is legal, but often frowned upon by police.

    The story was called, “Packing in public: Gun owners tired of hiding their weapons embrace ‘open carry.’”

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    Regular Member possumboy's Avatar
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    I do not know if I can convey this thought correctly:

    Wilkes-Barre police is now on record stating they are using the State Police handgun transfer database in a way contrary to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling.

    That cannot be good for them.

    Sounds like they are trying to cover up one mistake with something that might sound good, but is a against current case law.



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    Wow, talk about abuse of authority. I would also be interested in hearing the 911 tapes (which we know from another thread can be hidden, er kept, from the public) to find out if the "man with a gun in his hand" is even true. The police could be just lying through their teeth about that considering that they can withhold the 911 tapes and never have to prove that part of their story.

    And this is how it works. First they violated a PA supreme court ruling and state law and then anything they have done becomes suspect and people wonder how many other illegal or unethical things they have done. LEOs are often their own worst enemy in the public relations battle.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    Tomorrow is WB city council's monthly regular session

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    If anyone from out here in the west plans to attend, I'd like to tag along in any potential carpools.

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    Pa. Patriot wrote:
    Tomorrow is WB city council's monthly regular session
    Good thinking!

    But as our man "AJ" in New Jersey has not really surfaced in this matter, I do not think the time is yet ripe to go to the City Council and speak - we need more details and more time for the police to do the right thing and maybe contact AJ and rush his gun to him thru a PA FFL to a NJ FFL.

    AJ should not have to pay $4+ per gallon to drive to PA to get his gun back!

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    It is ironic that PSP justified maintaining this "database" as a tool for returning a recovered firearm to its rightful owner.How this tool is actually being used seems quite different indeed.

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    Mike wrote:
    Pa. Patriot wrote:
    Tomorrow is WB city council's monthly regular session
    Good thinking!

    But as our man "AJ" in New Jersey has not really surfaced in this matter, I do not think the time is yet ripe to go to the City Council and speak - we need more details and more time for the police to do the right thing and maybe contact AJ and rush his gun to him thru a PA FFL to a NJ FFL.

    AJ should not have to pay $4+ per gallon to drive to PA to get his gun back!
    As I understand it PA Patriot is working with him to make something happen. Many of the experienced guys and some attorneys are on the ball for this. So far they've advised him to keep quiet for the moment. I've been watching this over on pafoa.

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    Pa. Patriot wrote:
    Tomorrow is WB city council's monthly regular session


    Gotta love those city council meetings...

    Actually, I might be heading up to Scranton tomorrow night to pick up a friend later in the evening...

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Pa. Patriot wrote:
    Tomorrow is WB city council's monthly regular session


    Gotta love those city council meetings...

    Actually, I might be heading up to Scranton tomorrow night to pick up a friend later in the evening...
    Oh yeah ... a "wink wink nudge nudge" friend or a "grab a six pack, rebuild the truck tranny, clean the guns and watch the game" friend? Just being nosey
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    Pa. Patriot wrote:
    Tomorrow is WB city council's monthly regular session
    Never mind. I was looking at the 2007 schedule.

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    Wilkes-Barre City Council meeting - regular session
    6:00 PM, Thursday, July 10, 2008
    Located in City Council Chambers on the 4th floor of City Hall - 40 East Market Street, Wilkes-Barre.

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    For those who can make it, don't forget to OC!

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    ne1 wrote:
    It is ironic that PSP justified maintaining this "database" as a tool for returning a recovered firearm to its rightful owner.How this tool is actually being used seems quite different indeed.
    That's a crock, they seem more interested in relieving lawful gun owners of their property than returning it.


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    Posted by Pa. Patriot over on PAFOA:
    Due to numerous circumstances we have decided next month session will be a better choice. Will start a separate thread at the appropriate time.
    Looks like things will be delayed until next month.

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    Looks like things will be delayed until next month.
    Agreed, especially since this month's meeting was yesterday.


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    ThStatkowski wrote:
    Looks like things will be delayed until next month.
    Agreed, especially since this month's meeting was yesterday.
    That was only a "work session". Tomorrow is their "regular session"....the page could certainly be formatted better!

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    Can anyone speak on the claim that the OCer was holdinghis gun in his hand?Was he brandishing;did the 911 caller make a false statement,oris the articlejust wrong?

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    VApatriot wrote:
    Can anyone speak on the claim that the OCer was holdinghis gun in his hand?Was he brandishing;did the 911 caller make a false statement,oris the articlejust wrong?
    Nobody can speak to this - 911 calls are not FOIAable, the victim is not talking, etc.

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    deepdiver wrote:
    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Pa. Patriot wrote:
    Tomorrow is WB city council's monthly regular session


    Gotta love those city council meetings...

    Actually, I might be heading up to Scranton tomorrow night to pick up a friend later in the evening...
    Oh yeah ... a "wink wink nudge nudge" friend or a "grab a six pack, rebuild the truck tranny, clean the guns and watch the game" friend? Just being nosey
    Well, um...


    Anyhow, I guess I'll pencil in next month's city council meeting...

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    massltca wrote:
    ne1 wrote:
    It is ironic that PSP justified maintaining this "database" as a tool for returning a recovered firearm to its rightful owner.How this tool is actually being used seems quite different indeed.
    That's a crock, they seem more interested in relieving lawful gun owners of their property than returning it.
    I was kicking around an idea in the Virginia forum. What would happen if you placed electrical tape over the serial number of your hand gun? IANAL, but it does not appear to violate either federal or Virginia State law. The PA code is foreign to me. What does it say about obscuring serial numbers?

    Assuming that the electrical tape is legal in PA, then how, short of a warrant, could the police legally remove the tape and discover your firearms serial number? No more Habeas Arma!

    Habeas Arma Incognetus Numero


    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitableand let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come . PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    Regular Member possumboy's Avatar
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    Thundar wrote:
    I was kicking around an idea in the Virginia forum. What would happen if you placed electrical tape over the serial number of your hand gun? IANAL, but it does not appear to violate either federal or Virginia State law. The PA code is foreign to me. What does it say about obscuring serial numbers?

    Assuming that the electrical tape is legal in PA, then how, short of a warrant, could the police legally remove the tape and discover your firearms serial number? No more Habeas Arma!

    Habeas Arma Incognetus Numero

    The way I see it, they need a warrant to remove my firearm from my holster if I am not doing anything illegal.

    If they are willing to do that, removing a piece of tape is not even a thought.

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    possumboy wrote:
    Thundar wrote:
    I was kicking around an idea in the Virginia forum. What would happen if you placed electrical tape over the serial number of your hand gun? IANAL, but it does not appear to violate either federal or Virginia State law. The PA code is foreign to me. What does it say about obscuring serial numbers?

    Assuming that the electrical tape is legal in PA, then how, short of a warrant, could the police legally remove the tape and discover your firearms serial number? No more Habeas Arma!

    Habeas Arma Incognetus Numero

    The way I see it, they need a warrant to remove my firearm from my holster if I am not doing anything illegal.

    If they are willing to do that, removing a piece of tape is not even a thought.

    I share your sentiment, but unfortunately there is the Terry v. Ohio ruling. There during a detention based on RAS, notPC, the police officer can disarm you and do a cursory search for police officer safety. If the police officer can remove your gun from you he can read the serial number on the gun. He can use that to querry the imaginary Pennsylvania gun registry that we are learning about, and in the most recent case, claim that the gun's ownership is in doubt and seize the gun.I know that all of this recent stuff is B.S., but why should we allow the police to read the serial number of our guns?

    Terry would not permit the removal of electrical tape because the electrical tape does not threaten the safety of the police officer. No way to "check if the gun is yours" if they cannot read the serial number. :celebrate

    If a police officer removed the electrical tape without a warrant, that would be a clear violation of the 4th Amendment.

    - AGAIN IANAL and I cannot confirm with any case law that obscuring a serial number with electrical tape is legal.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitableand let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come . PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    Hmm from "sterile carry" to "electrical tape carry". Nice.

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    Terry v. Ohio states the pat down for weapons must be based on the notion that the person may be armed and dangerous.

    The officer cannot merely walk up to a person and pat him down as a matter of course. The officer would have to articulate why he felt the person may be armed and/or dangerous.

    The officer can ask if he can pat you down. If you agree.........oh well. You gave consent to the pat down.

    If an officer thinks you are carrying concealed..........is that justification for the pat down? Since concealed carry is a legal act and permitted by law......what makes the officer think he might be a threat? The mere carrying? Officer safety is usually the reason for the disarming and I think the courts have seen this as something the officer should be allowed to do. The police have no idea how the other person may react, so allowing him to stand there with a weapon is not a smart or prudent thing to do.

    Okay, so for whatever reason the officer patted you down and took your weapon for officer safety, why run the serial number? To see if its stolen? Based on what? The courts have ruled that the "data base" is NOT for ownership. It is only a data base for the sale and transfer of firearms in PA.

    What happens is the weapon either does not come back to the person or its not found in the "data base" and the un-knowing officer then seizes what he thinks is an illegal weapon. Sorry..............you just screwed up officer.

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